Election /

Stacey Abrams Assisted In Nigerian Election Oversight

'Not Every Election Turns Out The Way You Want, But ... The Responsibility Is To Show Up And Try To Shape The Future As Much As You Can'

Former Georgia Gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams assisted in overseeing Nigeria’s election.

Earlier this month the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) announced Abrams would be joining a 40-member delegation in a joint international election observation mission (IEOM).

The delegation is comprised of “political and civic leaders, elections experts, and regional specialists from 20 countries,” according to the announcement.

Al Jazeera Senior Correspondent Mohammad Jamjoon interviewed Abrams about her experience at polling stations following Saturday’s election.

“I would say that despite a slow start … with the [violence], we have seen orderly lines, we have seen long lines, signaling strong enthusiasm,” Abrams told Jamjoon.

“But we’ve also seen a great deal of cooperation and a very peaceful conversation among voters,” she continued. “They want to be heard, and they are willing to stand in line and have patience, because they know that’s their path to progress.”

When Jamjoon mentioned youth turnout, Abrams said “they want to be heard.”

“They believe progress is possible. They believe that more is possible,” she said. “They understand that they are the most assailed body by unemployment; that the challenges they face are real, but so is the opportunity for change.”

“What we’ve tried to have a conversation about though, is the caution that not every election turns out the way you want, but that the responsibility is to show up and try to shape the future as much as you can.”

Abrams was joined by former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs at the U.S. Department of State, along with President and CEO of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, among other international leaders.

“We are here to show our support for, and solidarity with Nigerian democrats,” said Her Excellency Joyce Banda. “These elections are of tremendous significance for the country and the region as a whole. I encourage all voters to participate and make their voices heard through the ballot box.”

“This joint deployment is a testament to the continuous commitment of our organizations to Nigeria’s democracy,” said Ambassador Derek Mitchell. “We are honored to support the Nigerian people in this pivotal election, and contribute to the continued strengthening of their country’s electoral processes and democratic institutions.”

“We celebrate the commitment of the Nigerian people to making their voices heard through the democratic political process,” said IRI President Dr. Daniel Twining. “We are here in support of credible, free and fair elections and urge all electoral stakeholders to remain peaceful throughout the election process.”

The joint IEOM follows recommendations from two pre-election assessment missions conducted in July and December 2022 on “actions that could enhance the credibility” of last Saturday’s elections

The delegation reportedly conducted its activities in accordance with Nigerian law and the Declaration of Principles for International Election Obserrvation which was adopted by the United Nations in 2005. The delegation’s work is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

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